Mid-America Transportation Center


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Report # MATC-UNL: #052 Final Report 25-1121-0003-052


Copyright 2013 Mid-America Transportation Center


The objective of this study was to develop evaluation bases for the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of existing railway bridges. Considering the importance of bridges to the railway network, the research involved the review and analysis of major factors that influence structural performance, e.g., degree of corrosion, loss of material (section loss, holes), fatigue problems, and loose connections. In particular, the research focused on connections, and their importance relative to the evaluation of bridge performance. The relationship between various conditions and the ability to perform the required function (i.e., carry a freight train) was established in the form of maximum capacity. Sensitivity analysis was performed to establish the relationship between load and resistance factors. Results were presented in the form of graphs and tables. The outcomes of this study served as a basis for the development of a decisionmaking spread sheet. This report provides research documentation and offers a tool for bridge owners for the prioritization of structures for repair/rehabilitation or replacement. The study involved the nonlinear finite element method (FEM) analysis of stringer-to-floorbeam connections, the development of the resistance capacity of typical bridge connections, and the calculation of reduced capacity based on deterioration and other conditions. The findings and final conclusions of this research could serve as a basis for the development of more accurate provisions for the evaluation of railway bridges